Diane’s Vietnamese Fried Chicken

by on August 26, 2014

Diane's Vietnamese Fried Chicken Recipe on @whiteonrice

When my 5 younger siblings and I were growing up, we were addicted to American food in the craziest of ways. Mom and Dad always had their garden fresh soups, healthy fish and vegetable dishes. But we wanted to eat what the Teenage Mutant Nina Turtles ate, which was pizza and more pizza. We always felt so deprived when we couldn’t eat mutant ninja turtle-style. Another evening of fresh homemade dinner was like six kids being force-fed mashed greens (or insert your most terrifying food as a kid).

Second on our most favorite American-food dishes were hamburgers, and in third place was fried chicken. Oh, fried chicken. The kind that KFC served in the bucket or Popeye’s served when we were lucky enough to drive through for lunch on our way to visit Auntie in Reno, Nevada. Those fried chicken dinners were rare, but glorious to an always-hungry thirteen year old.

Though we couldn’t afford to eat out often, my parents tried their best to accommodate our American food cravings. They themselves loved fried chicken and especially coleslaw. There was just something so special about coleslaw for them. We didn’t care, as long as we could each have a drumstick (or three), Mom and Dad can order what ever they wanted.

So when Mom and Dad were hungry for fried chicken, they made it at home. Oh boy. American fried chicken made by Mom and Dad? I’m proud to say that it was delicious. Different, but delicious.

What made their fried chicken so different was that they had no idea how KFC got that crispy outside crust. They’ve never battered chicken with flour before, so in their kitchen experiments, they figured out that Colonel Sanders must have used some type of wet flour batter. After a few tries, they had their variation of a Vietnamese-style American fried chicken that was delicious and to die for.

Bless their hearts. They tried to please us American-food-hungry kids and ended up with a fabulous Vietnamese version of fried chicken.

Crispy and flavorful Vietnamese Fried Chicken Recipe on @whiteonrice

Mom and Dad’s marinade of fish sauce is what gives this fried chicken a kick-up savory flavor and over the years, I’ve added garlic and sometimes a few other simple spices. The flour crust itself is their concoction or “guess” as to what KFC and Popeye’s chicken used. My parents’ version of the chicken is dipped in a wet flour mixture and then fried to a beautiful crispy brown. Their Vietnamese fried chicken crust is light and crispy on the outside and super juicy and flavorful on the inside.

I’ve shared images of this Vietnamese fried chicken online many times and so many of you have asked for the recipe. Well, here it is and I can’t take credit for all of it. So when you make this and take a bite out of this amazing Vietnamese fried chicken, please think of Mom and Dad!

enjoy,

diane

Diane's Vietnamese Fried Chicken Recipe

Yield: Serves 4

Total Time: 45 Minutes

The great flavor from this marinade comes from the fish sauce. If you're still new to fish sauce, don't be afraid of it. Use less if you want to, but don't replace it. The magical flavor is what makes this chicken so great. And the wet flour mixture gives a nice and fluffy outside crunch.

Ingredients:

  • about 2-3 pounds chicken drumsticks or thighs, skin-on and bone-in

For the marinade:

  • 1/4 cup (60ml) vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) fish sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon (15g) Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon (15ml) rice vinegar
  • 4-5 large cloves garlic, finely minced or crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

For frying:

  • 1 cup (125g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon (5) baking powder
  • about 2 cups (480ml) cold water
  • Oil for frying

Directions:

  1. Make the marinade: In large bowl, combine the vegetable oil, fish sauce, brown sugar, rice vinegar, garlic and black pepper. Set aside.
  2. Rinse the chicken and pat it dry. Add the chicken to the marinade and gently toss the chicken in to get it coated evenly. Marinate the chicken for at least 1 hour (2-3 hours preferred) so the chicken can soak up all the flavor. Gently stir up the chicken in the marinade at least twice during the 1-3 hours so that all the pieces of chicken get an even soak in the marinade.
  3. Make the flour coating: In a large bowl, combine the flour and baking powder. Slowly add the cold water and mix well with a fork. Start with about 1.5 cups and add more if needed. Break up any clumps of flour so that the mixture is smooth. What you want to get is a thick and moist flour mixture that will cling to the chicken.Please see reference photo on the post
  4. Heat a large frying pan or Dutch oven. Fill the pan or Dutch oven with oil about 1-in deep. Heat the oil to 350-375 degrees F.
  5. Gently remove the chicken from the marinade and let the excess drip off. Dip the chicken in to the wet flour mixture. Allow excess to drip off and place the chicken in the hot oil.
  6. Cooking in small batches, fry the chicken on both sides till crispy and cooked through, about 10-15 minutes. Don't crowd the chicken.
  7. Garnish with minced cilantro (optional). Serve warm with hot sauce and/or rice.
Recipe Source: WhiteOnRiceCouple.com.

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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

1 jenn @ beyond the stoop August 26, 2014 at 6:36 am

my Vietnamese mother in law JUST made some TO DIE FOR fried chicken, and she didn’t use flour at all. only corn starch. talk about crispy goodness!! the marinade was very similar to yours, and she also did an additional pan-fry after the deep fry to get all the good “secret” flavors on the outside :P

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2 Nguyet @ Taming of the Spoon August 26, 2014 at 6:57 am

Your story of growing up craving American fried chicken while Mom and Dad always cooked fresh Vietnamese dishes brought back so many childhood memories for me. How my sisters and I loved the evenings when Dad brought home a bucket of KFC! Thank you for sharing this.

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3 Pang@circahappy August 26, 2014 at 7:48 am

Thank you to your parents for this recipe. I will definitely like this one better than KFC.
Bookmarked!!!!

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4 Mary @ The Kitchen Paper August 26, 2014 at 8:07 am

Ooh this sounds amazing! After 3 months in Vietnam, I’m on an all-things-Vietnamese food kick — these will have to be tried!! Thanks, Diane!

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5 Linh Kieu August 26, 2014 at 8:18 am

I love making Vietnamese fried chicken! I sometimes add anchovy paste and homemade hot sauce to the marinades. Thanks for sharing!

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6 White on Rice Couple August 26, 2014 at 10:03 am

Linh Kieu- I’ll often add my homemade hot sauce too, but the anchovy paste sounds intriguing. Thanks for the idea!

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7 Alice // Hip Foodie Mom August 26, 2014 at 11:15 am

I love everything about this Vietnamese fried chicken!!! homemade fried chicken is the best! thanks for sharing, Diane!

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8 Angela August 26, 2014 at 3:17 pm

I never know what type or brand of fish sauce to buy. Can you recommend one?

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9 Karen August 28, 2014 at 7:24 pm

Redboat…

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10 Sidwich August 26, 2014 at 3:25 pm

Bahahaha. So true. My younger brother was also obsessed with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles AND Fried Chicken (and pizza, and hamburgers… but really, mostly KFC fried chicken). He didn’t get into eating Chinese food into college, and my grandmother was so happy he was eating Chinese food at all that she didn’t care that it was off the back of a truck.

His palate has expanded quite a bit since then.

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11 Farah @ The Cooking Jar August 26, 2014 at 5:23 pm

My teenage hunger cravings were mostly for lasagna because I adored Garfield. Love hearing stories like these! And since we couldn’t afford a whole bucket of KFC chicken back then, one of the first things I did when I had my own household was buy a bucket for myself. A little overkill for tiny old me, but hey, one thing off the bucket list (pun unintended).

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12 Sian August 26, 2014 at 10:39 pm

Aw – I feel alternating waves of warm fuzzies and drooling hunger. What a great memory (and recipe). It makes me wish I could live my childhood over again and not be such a little snot about eating.

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13 todd wagner August 26, 2014 at 11:00 pm

Always on the lookout for new fried chicken recipes – really digging the fish sauce!!

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14 JulieD August 27, 2014 at 5:22 am

Add to the list, spaghetti, hot dogs and fries! I had the same cravings and my little brother was obsessed with TMNT! Ha

I’m making this soon…I mean soon and don’t tell Curtis there’s fish sauce in this recipe! :)

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15 Phi @ The Sweetphi Blog August 28, 2014 at 10:15 am

WOW-looks so delicious, definitely want to try this out!

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16 Bec August 29, 2014 at 3:49 am

OH THIS LOOKS AWESOME. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe! I’m absolutely going to try this out :)

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17 Jill August 29, 2014 at 6:29 am

Do you use vegetable oil or peanut oil for frying? Thanks!

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18 White on Rice Couple August 29, 2014 at 4:07 pm

We usually like to use grapeseed oil, but will use vegetable or peanut oil if we have it on hand too.

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19 Sarah August 30, 2014 at 7:08 pm

I made this chicken for dinner tonight. It was very moist and tasty. The flavor was excellent. I did have to add extra flour to the batter because it was so thin that it ran right off the chicken. Next time I will cut the water in half and add the additional cup slowly to make a thicker batter.

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20 Da Ly August 31, 2014 at 3:53 am

I’m so ashamed you know more about Vietnamese cuisine than I do (and I’m Vietnamese) :))
Thank you for the recipe. I’m gonna trying it sometime.

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21 Angie | Big Bear's Wife September 3, 2014 at 9:42 am

I need to work on perfecting my fried chicken! Vietnamese Fried Chicken looks like the perfect recipe to practice with! While I love the drive thru fried chicken, I’d much rather make it at home!

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22 Abbe@This is How I Cook September 4, 2014 at 11:10 am

I am so liking this. Our family loved fried chicken too, and it was purchased similarly to your family’s. But instead of coleslaw, I needed potato salad and DAD’s rootbeer!

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23 Purvi September 5, 2014 at 1:42 am

Hi, I am from India and KFC chicken is a big thing here.. i liked the marinade used in your recipe will definitely give it a try…we make the crispy coating using eggs and cornflakes.. but sometimes the crispy layer falls apart with the meat…

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24 FoodFlav September 7, 2014 at 12:45 am

I Think this will be better than KFC, If I follow the Recipe and Ingredients as given above,
Can’t wait to make this Vietnam Fried Chicken This Weekend.

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25 Denver Photographer September 19, 2014 at 6:07 pm

O man that looks fantastic! I love fried chicken, that was one of the only things my father could cook.

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26 Sheryl September 21, 2014 at 7:29 am

Your story is what makes this recipe that much more to be treasured. Thank you for sharing it with us.

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